10 things you need to have done in 040

Bucket list for new Eindhovenians

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10 things you need to have done in 040

Are you one of the lucky first-year students who have managed to get a room in Eindhoven? And are you wondering what delights your new city has to offer? Then this list is for you: from PSV to DDW, from Carnival to city marathon, and from Theo to Guus. Check off all the items and – we think – you can officially call yourself an Eindhovenian.

photo Nicolas Economou / Shutterstock

The city of Eindhoven is the heart of the nation's smartest region, Brainport, but you already knew that, didn't you? With some 240,000 residents, ‘Eindje’ ranks as the Netherlands' fifth municipality. If you're a student in this city of no fewer than a quarter of a million residents, you can count yourself lucky. Even more so if you are a first-year, as the student housing shortage is greater than ever.

Eindhoven was founded in the marshy delta of five rivers that include the Dommel, the Gender and the Tongelreep. In 1232 it gained city rights. But, uh, didn't Eindhoven only recently celebrate its first centenary? It did. But that marked a hundred years of what is known as Greater Eindhoven, formed in 1920 when Eindhoven merged with the surrounding villages of Gestel, Stratum, Strijp, Tongelre and Woensel. (source: Wikipedia)

That's all the figures and dates covered. Now let's look at the ten things you need to have done or visited if you live in Eindhoven:

1. PSV soccer match

We start with (pun intended) an open goal. PSV is Eindhoven and Eindhoven is PSV. To give this sports association its full name: Philips Sport Vereniging. So leave that Feijenoord club duvet cover or those Ajax sweat pants at home when you're packing your moving boxes. And score tickets as quick as you can for a match played by the number one club in Eindhoven. What's nice is that the Philips Stadium is close to the city center, so once the final whistle has sounded, you'll be in a bar on Stratumseind in no time, celebrating victory or dealing with defeat.

Alternative option | Does the price of the tickets alarm you or the height of the stand give you altitude sickness? Then instead you can attend one of PSV's open training sessions at the training park De Herdgang. You'll find the practice pitches next to the Philips de Jongh Park and alongside the Philips Fruittuin (an orchard plus pancake house), both worth a visit in their own right. If soccer's just a dumb game in your book, but you'd still like to join in, why not simply buy a shirt, scarf or key ring in one of the PSV fan shops (in the stadium and at the Markt square downtown). 


At the darkest time of the year, Eindhoven does justice to its sobriquet 'City of Light' or Lichtstad as light art festival GLOW transforms the city into a twinkling fairytale world. The 2022 event is planned for November 12 through 19. During GLOW large numbers of visitors walk a route through various parts of the city to enjoy the enchantment of light installations at the cutting edge of art, design and technology. The TU/e campus is regularly on the festival route, and many TU/e students and employees help produce the artworks in light. Nice extra: GLOW is free to visitors. Don't miss it, this spectacular event is a real must.

Alternative option | Does ‘vague’ art make you roll your eyes? Would you rather know at a glance what an illuminated object is all about? Then another route, the Lichtjesroute, may be a good alternative for you. Once a year Eindhoven hosts the Lichtjesroute to commemorate the liberation that brought WWII to an end in the city. On September 18, 1944 citizens welcomed the Allies by placing lights in their windows. The event is a route (two hours to cycle) through city streets decorated with illuminated ornaments, which take the form of animals, for example, or well-known Eindhoven buildings. This year they are on show from September 18 through October 9th.

3. King's Day

Up and down the country, the celebrations to mark the birthday of King Willem-Alexander are lavish affairs, enjoyed by Royalists and fervent republicans alike. But Eindhoven really does go the whole hog on April 27. If you are signing up for everything, then you'll start partying the night before, on Koningsnacht. Don't forget your outfit of orange and red, white and blue. The next morning, hangover permitting, you can amble through the street markets; anyone can hold a yard sale out on the street on this one day of the year. The pretty park called the Stadswandelpark is one place you'll find these 'free' markets. Here, you can pick up all kinds of bits and pieces at bargain prices to decorate your room with – how have you managed to live without a scary tailor's dummy or a ‘real’ Rembrandt in cross stitch? Then it will be time – still decked out in that hard-on-the-eyes bright orange – to go in search of one of the many stages and festival sites in and around the city center. In Eindhoven the emphasis is on dance, as it is at the Royal Dutch festival in the square called Stadhuisplein. So put on your dancing shoes.

Alternative option | Is orange not your color, or do you think Willem-Alexander is a dweeb? Luckily, Eindhoven has plenty of dance parties all year long where you can show your moves.

4. A ride in a 'dafje'

Eindhoven is not only the city of Philips but also of DAF, full name: Van Doorne’s Automobile Factory. For a full-body experience of the industrial history of the city you've just moved to, why not take a ride in a genuine truttenschudder, the disparaging nickname (à la boneshaker) given to the DAF 33 – the first Dutch-produced car with an automatic transmission, nicknamed the 'clever stick shift' (pientere pookje). Until well into the 1980s, this journalist's great-grand uncle Pieter-Jan was a hazard on the nation's roads in his olive-green DAF 33 – hazardous mainly because he never managed more than 60 kilometer an hour on the A58 – and now you too can take a trip in this piece of mobile history. (Thanks to In de Buurt for the tip.)

Alternative option | If you don't yet have your driver's license, why don't you visit the fun DAF Museum in Eindhoven. And while you're at it, the Philips Museum – housed in the very first Philips factory – is worth a trip as well.

5. Running a marathon

No, this item on the 2do list is not one to check off on a lost afternoon, but it is certainly worth doing. If you're a sporty person (or aim to be), be sure to think about starting to train for the Eindhoven marathon, the city's biggest sporting event. The next event will be held on October 9 – and it's also fun to just watch. If you're already so well trained that these 42+ kilometers are within reach, you can sign up to join the TU/e Running Team, and enjoy the perks of being part of a team.

Alternative option | Running a full marathon is no mean feat. Luckily, you can also sign up for the half or quarter marathon, or the 5K City Run. If running in general is a turn-off, there are plenty of other sporting activities to do in 040. Why not take a bike trip around Eindhoven, go paddleboarding on the Dommel – you can even start from the TU/e campus! – or hit a hole in one on the midget golf course at Paviljoen Genneper Parken.

6. Groots with a soft 'g'

The Philips Stadium is home not only to soccer; it is also traditionally the venue chosen by Guus Meeuwis for his concert series ‘Groots with a soft 'g'. Whether you're a Brabander born and bred or fresh 'import' as the Dutch say, this is something you've got to see. Buy a pitch ticket, so that you can dance and, not to be missed, can stand on the sacred turf. Link arms and sing along with classics like Het is een nacht and Brabant, both of which mention a light still burning deep in the night; and if there's anywhere a light is always burning, it's Eindhoven, the city of the light bulb. And, of course, the nice thing about being a city resident is that after the concluding fireworks you don't have to travel home – ker-chunk, ker-chunk – by train, you need only hop on your bike.

Alternative option | Does your taste in music hold you back from going to a Guus Meeuwis concert, or does every 'g' you pronounce come out sounding like a rock-hard 'k'? If so, there are plenty of other concerts for you to enjoy in Eindhoven. Check out the events diary of the Muziekgebouw or pop along to the Effenaar.

7. Taking architecture selfies

From Evoluon to Blob, from Witte Dame to Bruine Heer, from Lichttoren to Klokgebouw and from Vestedatoren to Trudo Toren: Eindhoven is packed with industrial monuments, futuristic high-rise and bold landmarks. What's stopping you from making your followers on social media happy with a series of slick selfies taken with a selection of your new city's architectural highlights in the background? Studying Built Environment? Then for you this bucket list item is a must.

Alternative option | Do you detest the concrete that seems to accounts for something like 80 percent of Eindhoven's buildings? Then you'll have to be patient and wait for The Dutch Mountains to rise near the train station: impressive twin residential towers built largely of solid wood. If making selfies is something you find embarrassing, or you'd rather stay put at your computer, then why not take a virtual walk through the station zone of the future. As well as The Dutch Mountains, plenty of other stunning and tall development is being planned.

8. DDW

A true Eindhovenian never says Dutch Design Week; everyone here knows what the abbreviation DDW stands for. From October 22 through 30 the city will once again be taken over by an international gathering of artsy design types enamored of challenging spectacle frames. Because for this brief shining moment Eindhoven becomes the global focus of everything design-related. Even just wandering through the city during this period can be very satisfying, taking in all the design tourists and their fascinating outfits, but be sure to also visit some of the DDW exhibits, such as the traditional Graduation Show put on by the Design Academy. TU/e also takes part in DDW, hosting the annual expo Drivers of Change.

Alternative option | Do crowds give you the heebie jeebies or does DDW unhappily coincide with your annual family holiday on the island of Ameland? Never mind, there is plenty of design to see/buy at other times of the year in Eindhoven. Why not visit an exhibition in the Kazerne, amble through Piet Hein Eek's showroom or give in to your in the greed in the Urban Shopper on Strijp-S.

9. Carnival

Perhaps you used to live north of the rivers or you are an international from a country that doesn't do Carnival. Or, conversely, perhaps Limburg is your home turf, where instead of Carnival, Vastelavond is celebrated. If so, prepare yourself, because now that you're living in Lampegat, it's only natural that you'll be celebrating Carnival. For one evening at least. The next event will be held on February 18 through 21. So make sure you have a healthy bank balance by then and a pekske – creativity and originality get the thumbs up when you're choosing this outfit, but really anything strange is fine. Something to remember: in Eindhoven the traditional Carnival greeting is not alaaf but salaai.

Alternative option | Does Carnival music set your teeth on edge? Or does the tune of the polonaise bring back the trauma of having Uncle Charlie tread on your heels countless times as you danced to the extended version of the song ’s Nachts na tweeën by the group De Havenzangers? If so, you might find a regular student night out on Stratumseind, say, is all the partying you need. But isn't it a shame how you get all those odd looks whenever you come dressed as Little Red Riding Hood or a T-Rex… 

10. Spotting Theo Maassen

How do you say you're from Eindhoven without saying you're from Eindhoven? Like this: “I just saw Theo Maassen walk by.” Anyone who gets out of the house with some degree of regularity will have come across the Eindhoven cabaret artist and actor ‘in the wild’ at some point. So keep your eyes peeled as you're walking though the city.

Until two years ago, incidentally, there was another striking regular on the streets of Eindhoven: Arnol Kox. Armed with his mobility scooter and a highly penetrating voice, he would spend entire days in the city center, spreading the message of Jesus among shoppers. Kox passed away in 2020.

Alternative option | Frustratingly, do you just never seem to run into Theo? Then why not watch his shows, films and series on the small screen. Highly recommended is the four-part Videoland series Woensel West, in which Maassen is magnificent as a porn shop owner, alongside the Eindhoven rapper Fresku, and in which the city itself also plays a leading role. Of course, Maassen's live performances in Eindhoven always sell out instantly, but… he has been known to try out his new material on TU/e students! So keep a close eye on the Studium Generale diary.

Bonus tip | Stumble Stones

Struikelstenen or Stumble Stones or, in German, Stolpersteine are not only found in Eindhoven – you'll find them in more than 1600 European cities, towns and villages. But they are certainly worth looking out for. They are small memorial stones carrying a brass plaque. You'll find them set in the sidewalk in front of houses where Jewish people lived (or were in hiding) before being taken away, and usually murdered, by the Nazis in the Second World War. Engraved in the brass is not only the person's name but also a brief summary of their fate. You'll find the locations of Eindhoven's 274 Stumble Stones marked on this map.

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